Month: November 2014

I see Digital Sociology as an open-ended integrative project, concerned to assemble the disparate strands of sociological engagement with digital technology within a more or less shared intellectual space: not in the sense of striving for unanimity but rather to ensure that disagreements at least tend to play out in terms which make the basis […]

This looks good: Please see below and attached a call for papers for an edited book entitled ‘Feminist Beginnings: Being an Early Career Feminist Academic in a Changing Academy’, to be edited by Dr Rachel Thwaites and Dr Amy Godoy-Pressland. Please circulate around your networks. In a fast-changing higher education academy, where marketisation is increasingly […]

From What about Me?: the struggle for identity in a market-based society by Paul Verhaeghe: Enron, an American multinational, introduced this practice at the end of the previous century, dubbing it the ‘Rank and Yank appraisal system’. The individual performances of its staff members were continually monitored and contrasted. On the basis of the results, one-fifth […]

In this paper Tom Brock and I argue that relationality is key to understanding the constitution of social movements: how do individuals ‘fuse’ into a collective? Our focus is on the relational bonds that emerge between participants, consolidated through situated action, in relation to which individuals come to value their reciprocal action towards a shared […]

How do we envisage our future? To ask this question usually invites reflections upon personal biography. More rarely does it address ‘our’ in a civilizational sense – I use the term loosely here to refer to the totality of organised human social life which, in contemporary circumstances I would take to be unitary (in the sense of […]

I learned how to hammer in the burning August sun I learned how to lie and cheat, how to steel and just how to run I fell asleep most nights with somebody else’s blood on my tongue, Your tongue You learned just how to run But it’s just the blues, Mary the blues Swirling around […]

I just came across a passage by James Meek in which he describes being drawn to, the obscure realm of events that are too fresh for history, but too old for journalism; the murky gap of popular perception that covers the period from two years ago to about twenty-five years back, in which events are […]

A worthy cause: Saturday 6 December – Para-Academic Handbook Launch in London, UK 6.30pm start at Housman’s Bookshop, 5 Caledonian Road, Kings Cross, London N1 9DX £3 entry redeemable against the purchase of any book in-store. ‘Academia is dying, and in the process compulsively crushes the desires for learning, creating, teaching, cooperating it claimed to […]

In her The Reflexive Imperative, Margaret Archer presents an idea she terms the necessity of selection: the necessity of selecting from the options available to us. These options are always structurally and culturally circumscribed, albeit to wildly varying degrees, however they remain options. The nature of our ‘selections’ vary wildly but they are always a matter of discriminating between […]

You can book online here. Given the increasing pressure to demonstrate the impact of social research, it is inevitable that researchers are looking towards the opportunities offered by social media. This one day course offers an accessible introduction to the use of blogging and twitter, encompassing the possibilities they offer for social researchers and walking you […]

This looks really interesting: ‘On the Street Where you Live’: Bourdieusian analysis of socio-spatial hierarchy BSA Bourdieu Study Group Event Tuesday 2nd December 2014 London Key Note Speakers:  Dr Paul Watt (Birkbeck) Dr Michaela Benson (Goldsmith) Dr Tracey Jensen (UEL) Dr Simon Harding (Middlesex University) and Stephen Crossley (Durham) The relations between the social world […]

In their Webcam, Daniel Miller and Jolynna Sinanan offer what they describe as a theory of attainment. While I’m not sure they’d accept my terminology, I read this as an attempt to theorise the causal powers of technology in relation to the causal powers of human beings. They start by recognising that “people have relationships with people and they have […]

SECOND CALL FOR PAPERS: Queering Paradigms 6 Deadline extension: New deadline 30 November 2014. After an exciting and highly productive five year journey through four continents, the Queering Paradigms conference will visit its point of origin again in its sixth incarnation. Queering Paradigms 6 is planned to be held in South England 20-25 July 2015. […]

What Nick Couldry says here is a pleasingly precise statement of what I’ve been trying to articulate when writing vague statements like the “distinctively sociological sensibility which is marginalised by computational social science”: The starting-points for a hermeneutics of the social world are, in key ways, being transformed by big data and by the embedding of algorithmic […]

In his A necessary disenchantment: myth, agency and injustice in a digital world, Nick Couldry argues that transitions in media infrastructure are facilitating the emergence of a new myth of collectivity: A new myth about the collectivities we form when we use platforms such as Facebook. An emerging myth of natural collectivity that is particularly seductive, because […]

If we accept this account then we can see the ‘sexual revolution’ as constituting a decoupling of sex from commitment. Can we read the emergence of asexuality as a parallel decoupling of commitment from sex? “The really big change in sexual practices among young Americans occurred with the Baby Boomer generation, that is the move toward premarital […]

One of my favourite academic blogs is Understanding Society. Written by the philosopher Daniel Little, it covers a diverse range of topics across the social sciences while continually coming back to a number of core theoretical questions that fascinate me. Reflecting on its seventh anniversary, Little offers some interesting thoughts on the role that academic blogging plays in his […]